Crack buns. Need I say more? Nicknamed by Harvest Vine customers who are as enamored as I am with “Carolin’s Sweet Buns,” these buttery pastries truly are addictive. They go fast, too. The first time we visited the Harvest Vine for their new brunch, our server had to check with the kitchen to make sure there were any left for us. Fortunately for us, we got the last two. Fortunately for the people who walked in the door behind us, more were on their way into the oven.
Caracolillos: Carolin’s sweet buns with vanilla bean sugar
Made with hand-rolled croissant dough and crusted with vanilla bean sugar, they were a happy accident that came about while owner and pastry chef Carolin Messier was recipe testing this spring. She was about to bake a batch of sweet buns and ran out of space on the baking sheet. The only thing handy was a stack of ramekins, so she nestled the extra spirals of dough inside the ramekins and popped them into the oven. It turns out these were the best croissant dough pastries she’d made yet. The ramekin walls leave them slightly chewy around the edges, yet shatteringly flaky.
During her spring testing, Carolin also perfected her recipe for Mallorcan bread served with spaghetti squash preserves, and features it alongside other savory and sweet items on the new brunch menu. Although the Harvest Vine has been open for more than a decade, this is the first brunch offering they’ve had.
With a baby now in tow, brunch was welcome news to us since it gives us a chance to go more often to a restaurant we love. Carolin said we’re not the first parents to mention this – patrons she hasn’t seen in months, or even years, are bringing their young families in on Saturdays and Sundays.
Txistorra: Navarran style pork sausage
Piquillos Rellanos de Morcilla: Blood sausage inside Piquillo peppers
Huevos Flamencos: Baked eggs with asparagus, peas, chorizo, jamon, and fried tomato sauce.
Much of the menu is familiar from the dinner hour, including a favorite of ours, the txistorra sausage, bright red from the paprika inside and served with grilled bread alongside. And while we usually enjoy the morcilla blood sausage at dinner, it was under seasoned on both of our brunch visits. A plate full of dry-cured Serrano ham made up for that shortcoming, though. The same jamon is featured inside one of their three bocadillos, which are Spanish-style sandwiches.
The highlight from the savory half of the menu is head chef Joey Serquinia’s creation, Huevos Flamencos. These eggs are baked with peas and asparagus in the Harvest Vine’s famous (well, I think it should be famous) fried tomato sauce. As you dig in you uncover the bits of jamon and tangy chorizo below.
Pork belly and peppers topped the other baked egg dish we liked. While pork may be a more likely mainstay on the menu than the asparagus and peas, the entire menu changes with the seasonality of ingredients and the whim of the chef. Still, with their popularity, I expect that the crack buns will stick around for a while.
The Harvest Vine
2701 East Madison, Seattle